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Wednesday
Aug032011

The Evolution of TTT2 (Thoughts on the Latest Build)

Evo is finally over and the recovery process has started. At this point I have attended 4 events that have featured playable builds of TTT2 and I’ve learned quite a bit about the game. As always I want to stress heavily that my opinions of TTT2 are based on builds that are works in progress. Please keep this in mind.

First I’d like to talk about my experience at San Diego Comic Con. At this event, Namco provided 4 TTT2 machines which made it quite easy to get games. I attended this event for 3 days and literally didn’t leave the SDTekken room for anything other than food, piss and cigarettes. The thing that makes this event unique when compared to the others is the TTT2 tournament. It was nice playing the game in a high tension situation because it gives you more of a three dimensional idea of how the game functions. I will get into why this is significant a little later. There is some controversy surrounding Namco’s decision to throw such a large amount of money at such an obscure event for a game that isn’t even released. However, I am not a marketing expert nor do I know the inner workings of their marketing strategies. For this reason, I’m going to keep an “I’ll take it” attitude. Another interesting note about Comic Con is that there were more than 30 competent Tekken players who attended. It was very interesting to see how different people were receiving the highly anticipated sequel to TTT.

The build that was provided at Comic Con was identical to the one that was available at e3. However, at the time of Comic Con, there was already two newer builds of TTT2 available in Asian location tests. Essentially, we were playing on an out dated build.

After Comic Con I was very disappointed in the way Netsu worked in TTT2. I quickly realized after playing in my first tournament matches that Netsu was way too strong and it made the game too uncontrollable. Let me explain. In Tekken 6, Rage only happens at one point in the match, and is avoidable. This makes it controllable and predictable. Many T6 matches end without Rage even becoming a factor. However, this is not the case in TTT2. In TTT2, Netsu is unavoidable. The opponent is guaranteed to get it after taking damage. At the Comic Con/e3 build of the game, I felt that Netsu lasted WAY too long and was way too easy to obtain, it felt like you could die at any moment. Another problem I had with this build was that unlike in TTT1, it is very hard to prevent your opponent from tagging. Tagging out is now very fast and evasive. You can use it like an endless backdash to get out of 50/50s. What this means is that most of the time, you have to let your opponent tag out and then punish the inbound character. Now typically this is where the problem lies. Even if you punish the inbound character, unless you kill them, they are now left with Netsu. You have now put yourself in a very dangerous situation in which you must risk losing the round; Your options are now limited to fighting it out with the opponents powered up character or tagging in your partner who is likely to eat a Netsu juggle on the way in. The overall conclusion is that the e3/Comic Con build of TTT2 was an extremely high damage game in which you must play very defensive as you can die at any moment. This was quite disappointing.

Before I was able to find time to write about my experience at Comic Con, it was already time for Evo2k11. I decided that I would combine my thoughts from both events and include them in this write up. For days 1 and 2 of Evo, Namco provided four TTT2 cabinets for the public to play on. Unfortunately, these cabinets once again had the e3 build of the game, which was quite disappointing. However, on day 3 of Evo, they let us play on the newest publicly available build. This build includes balance changes to Netsu, flashing lifebars, sparks which notify the player of Netsu activation, as well as the new “Tag Crash” system mechanic.

Netsu = Meter?

On day three of Evo, a new system mechanic was available in the newest build.  When your secondary character has Netsu powered up. You can sacrifice your Netsu to tag off the ground safely buy hitting 2+5 when grounded. This makes your inbound character fly down from the top of the screen with an attack that recovers very quickly. The attack itself does almost no damage but seems to be very safe, even on whiff.  Now this new system feature is very interesting to me. Not only because I think it is a good idea, but also because it seems like they are beginning to use the Netsu power up system almost like an “EX meter” of sorts. There is still talk of a possible combo breaker that may be implemented in the future as well. I personally love this idea. Using your valuable Netsu to do things like tag safely or break combos seems like a great way to prevent TTT2 from becoming the Rage fest that it was at Comic Con.

Up until I played the new build of TTT2, I was relatively displeased with the game. However, I still had faith in the Tekken development team and knew that because the game was still being refined, Netsu would likely be toned down. This is exactly what happened. Netsu seemed to either do less damage, or damage scaling changed in some way. Secondarily, they added ways for you to sacrifice Netsu in order to Tag in your partner safely. This is a brilliant idea. On the last day of Evo they asked the players who have gotten the most time with the game to run a 5 on 5 exhibition match on the main stage to show the game to the crowd and stream. This was very much needed in my opinion because the Tekken 6 top 8 was quite boring despite the high level of play. After that, the TTT2 machines were turned off and we were left waiting for our next opportunity to play the game.

This was my 9th Evo and I must say it was one for the record books. To anyone who was unable to make it this year, take my advice and start saving your money now. Evo should be considered an unmissable event. Hope to see you all next year.

 

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Reader Comments (19)

Great post, very insightful. I like that they're coming up with ways to make Netsu less of a problem, and that they're continuing to scale down damage. Not sure how I feel about a combo breaking mechanic in Tekken, but it IS a way to deal with the long ass combos this game is starting to be known for.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:17 AM | Unregistered Commenterking_ruckus

i wonder if this idea of netsu becoming 'meter'-like is a concept which was implemented in preparation for the street fighter characters which will come in TKxSF.
whatever the case, i really like the idea of having meter in tekken because not only does it adds depth, im excited for the next build.

although, i really dont like the idea of rewarding the player with so much for LOSING.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterWing

Aris.. Tag Crash also eliminates your own red life. Not just your partner's Rage/Netsu.

it can be seen here, @ 2:19
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys5q0LKoi0Q&t=2m17s

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterL_Z_N

Awesome review on what's going on with the Tag2 development so far. I'll take a free tag-in feature over high damage any day. Plus it's a lot more interesting than just "upping damage". Thanks for the info.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered Commenter7thfonon

Thank you for this writeup Aris. I was absolutely dumbfounded on why no one seemed to notice that tagging out was WAY faster in Tekken Tag 2 (although on second thought, I guess not that many active players nowadays started on Tekken Tag 1). It seemed too safe. This was one of the things I immediately noticed when I saw videos of the game and I even commented about it on this site on the Namco Comiccon TTT2 stream article. I will say that this was a very big flaw in my eyes and should the Tekken development team keep this same tagging out mechanic in the final build of the game, I will probably not play the game as much, if at all (the way I feel about this at the moment, I think this mechanic has become a dealbreaker for me).

If tagging out weren't that safe, we'd see moments like this, which require a good read on opponents:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYpesAHP0BQ&t=2m46s

While that particular instance may not happen all too often, it's nice to be able to have something that rewards you for good anticipation of a tag-out, and does not let the opponent just use the tag feature with impunity to save his character.


I liked everything else that I saw though, and still hope that they'd improve the movement a bit more. While I am also concerned about the ever increasing amount of damage being dealt as the games progress, at the moment, my biggest peeve is the relative safety and speed of tagging out.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 6:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterLurker

admittedly i havent played the game, but doesnt the fact that u cant tag cancel stop raw tagging being so safe??

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 7:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterrandom

Funny. I remember thinking "why did he do such a horrible tag out?" back when the video above was released.

I second most of what was said above about the safe tagging out, but I think you are overestimating how unsafe tagging used to be. There was no way to react to a tag and catch an opponent before he got out (you had to predict it), and, unless you character had a backflip, it was pretty safe for the character tagging in as well. Tagging out could also completely avoid things like shoulder charges. I haven't played ttt2 at all, so I don't know if this is still the case. From the videos I've seen, it seems like you can't cancel the running in with taunts or other evasive moves (Yoshi's flash anyone?).

About combo breakers. I've personally been wanting this for a long time, and I see no reason why it should be limited to only when you have netsu or whatever. Rather just make it so that predicting a combo breaker correctly, will lead to a longer juggle or even a relaunch. Kind of like what TOgre could do in Tekken 3.

Good stuff Aris. :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 7:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterVainj

I like Netsu and I dislike combo breakers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterForest

It just makes me nervous that Namco will try too hard to attract the 2D audience and unintentionally alienate their current audience. That still might not happen but I'd rather they tinker with things like meter & combo breakers in TKxSF...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterThreeli

So does this mean that a new podcast is in the works? Lots of new shit to cover.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterIMFAMOUSMINDED

Can someone explain to me, why Namco doesn't release TTT2 at the arcades and on consoles at the same time?

They could patch the console version via internet, so why release it, so everyone could play it?
The game might be unbalanced at the beginning, but at least everyone can get used to the game that way.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterLee73

^^^
Because the arcade scene is where they making they money

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterx

I will find you in my Tekken travels one day... and hopefully it'll be TTT2 by that time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrIkari

Mk did combo breakers correctly, as long as there is a penalty for using them that limit's your other options it's a good idea, and may bring some people into tekken that hate the juggle system.

Not sure how they would implement this in Tekken though. Tied to netsu is a good idea but I am not sure it's enough.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDevil Kazuya

I think I also like the idea of sacrificing Netsu. I still dislike the idea of combo breakers. I do agree that Netsu mayve seemed overpowered at one point but I'd prefer a reassessment of it to balance it rather than a combo breaker mechanic. If Netsu/Rage deal too much damage, lessen the damage output and/or make it's duration shorter. The thing I've always liked about Tekken is that I feel like I really earn my victories; I don't prefer any sort of assistance. I had not originally favored Rage for this reason; I'd say that's enough of a courtesy. I don't really play Virtua Fighter but one things I like to attribute to it or games like Tekken is skill. Knowing your skill got you a victory, and not that you cheat death and often make a lucky comeback due to an x factor or combo breaker. I also respect Tekken and Virtua fighter because they promote cautious behavior; A combo breaker might make players slightly more reckless.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterchemicalRed

I think Tag Crash is the "combo breaker" Harada thought of. I don't think there's going to be anything that will be able to block a juggle for you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAAK

combo breaker will bullshit idea it only destroy this game if they add this stupid idea

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterTEKKENLOVER

Tag Crash is very good defense system.

Nice idea from Namco.

Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 4:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDezuke

Excellent write up Aris - and very nice to meet you, esp. after you had just taken Brady @ MK and you were in good spirit.

Being room mates with Kane and Cyborg (legends) - I got a lot of extra info from them about the game.

Kane pwned hard in the exhibition matches too though - damn

I love the 'trade your Netsu for a safe tag' aspect, I feel that ties in well with traditional Tekken/TTT.
Combo Breakers are not my style per say - and I think not the style of many veteran Tekken players.

Tadashi - remember that Harada~sama does not see the TTT series as part of the Main Tekken Series - and just because he may add some wacky, experimental non-traditional Tekken gimmicks - it doesn't mean that they are guaranteed to be taken forward into Tekken 7.

The 1st version of the game you described above sounds like a potential scrub fest - but even now I think it's still early days.

At least graphically this game will make you shit your pants when you see it up close and personal.

This was my first Evo ------ when I was small I looked forward to like my Birthday and Christmas, now that I'm big ^_^, Evo is definitely the replacement. lol

I need to start saving already - $3300.00 dolla to spare takes times. lol

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxSteve

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